“This is not your Dad’s a cappella,” says Octappella Director Matt Cropper. When most people hear a cappella, they think of a classical choir or a barbershop quartet. What differentiates these all-male singers is the vocal instrumentation of bass and percussion sounding like their authentic counterparts. It’s a bigger sound than you might expect. Before covering your ears and running, hear it to believe it.
Octappella, a rare seven-man octet [pun intended], has enough zeal—along with 10 years experience, 80 songs, four albums and a performance at the 2002 Winter Games—to make up for the absence of one original member. In 2006, the group won two Contemporary A Cappella Society of America awards: Religious Album for Worship, and Religious Song for “Anthem to My King.” Cropper has collaborated with a cappella legend and CASA President Deke Sharon, composing “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanual” and “Sleigh Ride,” a swingy-jazzy number, from Christmas.
This Christmas concert will blend complex, tight harmonies on Yuletide favorites and a surprising musical melange otherwise. Octappella covers pop classics like “Come Sail Away” by Styx, “Time of Your Life” by Green Day and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. An Octappella live show is interactive with audience participation and a combination of rich harmony and comedy. “You will leave laughing at least a dozen times,” says Cropper.
While not a religious show, Christmas messages and pious perennials will be cinnamon and nutmeg to this hot cocoa. After the chaos of the holidays, buck the bah, humbugs.